Oil production in the Eagle Ford shale formation in Texas tripled in May from a year earlier, preliminary data from state regulators show.
The nine fields that make up the majority of the 400-mile- long formation produced 262,563 barrels of crude a day, data on the Railroad Commission of Texas’s website show. Those fields produced 84,495 barrels a day in May 2011.
The Eagle Ford produced no oil in April 2008. This April it accounted for 4.6 percent of U.S. production.
The Railroad Commission oversees oil and gas drilling in the state. It collects monthly production reports from sites on which it permits drilling, then groups those reports into larger geographic fields and districts.
The commission updates the data on its website once a month. Those updates “reflect a snapshot in time” and the information may change when revised, corrected or late reports come in, Gaye McElwain, an Austin-based spokeswoman for the commission, said in an e-mailed message.
Last month, for example, preliminary data for April showed the Eagle Ford produced 223,000 barrels of crude a day. This week that was revised to 279,000.
Valero Energy Corp. Chief Executive Officer Bill Klesse said in a May 3 interview that producers have told him Eagle Ford production will reach 500,000 barrels a day by the end of the year and may exceed 1 million in a few years.
Eagle Ford produces a light, sweet oil similar to West Texas Intermediate and Brent crudes. Such oils are relatively more valuable because they contain a higher yield of lighter products like gasoline and diesel.
Plains Marketing LP’s posted price for Eagle Ford oil today was $94.07 a barrel, between yesterday’s settlement prices of $88.97 for WTI and $104.38 for Brent.
Valero and Flint Hills Resources LLC are the two biggest users of Eagle Ford oil.
Bill Day, a San Antonio-based Valero spokesman, said the company runs about 140,000 barrels a day in its Three Rivers, Corpus Christi and Houston refineries in Texas.
Eagle Ford oil accounts for more than half the run at Flint Hills’s 305,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Corpus Christi, Katie Stavinoha, a Houston-based spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.